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chinadaily.com.cn 2022-12-07 13:22


> Chinese tea making joins UNESCO list

Li Xingchang (left), an inheritor of the making technique of famous Chinese Pu'er tea, teaches his apprentice how to pick tea leaves at an ecological tea garden in Ning'er Hani and Yi autonomous county of Pu'er city, Southwest China's Yunnan province, April 10, 2020. [Photo/Xinhua]

The tea that has delighted and fascinated the world for millennia has finally received top-level global recognition as a shared cultural treasure of mankind.

Traditional tea processing techniques and their associated social practices in China were added to UNESCO's Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity on Tuesday.

The status was conferred by the Intergovernmental Committee for the Safeguarding of Intangible Cultural Heritage, hosted in Rabat, Morocco. It consists of knowledge, skills and practices concerning management of tea plantations, the picking of tea leaves, and the processing, drinking and sharing of tea.

According to UNESCO, in China traditional tea processing techniques are closely associated with geographical location and natural environment, resulting in a distribution range between 18°-37° N and 94°-122° E.

The techniques are mainly found in the provinces and autonomous regions of Zhejiang, Jiangsu, Jiangxi, Hunan, Anhui, Hubei, Henan, Shaanxi, Yunnan, Guizhou, Sichuan, Fujian, Guangdong and Guangxi.

Associated social practices, however, are spread throughout the country and shared by multiple ethnic groups.

Over 2,000 tea varieties, mainly in six categories -- green, black, yellow, oolong, white and dark -- are grown in China. Core skills include shaqing (enzyme inactivation), menhuang (yellowing), wodui (pealing), weidiao (withering), zuoqing (leaves shaking and cooling), fajiao (oxidation or fermentation) and yinzhi (scenting).

Tea-related customs are not only found across the country, but also influenced the rest of the world through the ancient Silk Road and trade routes.

As a document from the Ministry of Culture and Tourism to UNESCO explained, tea is ubiquitous in Chinese people's daily life.

Steeped or boiled tea is served in homes, workplaces, tea houses, restaurants, temples and used as an important medium for communication in socializing and ceremonies such as weddings, apprentice-taking and sacrifices.

"Practices of greeting guests with tea and building good relationships within families and among neighborhoods through tea-related activities are shared among multiple ethnic groups, and provide a sense of identity and continuity for communities, groups and individuals concerned," the document said.

In China, 44 registered national-level intangible cultural heritage entries are related to tea.

There are over 40 vocational colleges and 80 universities in China that have set up majors in tea science or tea culture, resulting in over 3,000 graduates specializing in tea production and art every year, according to the ministry.

The inscription of the element is the 43rd entry from China on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity, whose total tops all other countries.

> Half of free-range poultry have been culled because of bird flu in the UK

[Screenshot/China Daily]

In the United Kingdom, half of free-range turkeys and geese produced for Christmas have been culled or have died because of the bird flu, according to the British Poultry Council.

Around 600,000 of the 1.2 million to 1.3 million free-range turkeys and geese grown for Christmas have been lost. While there could be a shortage of free-range Christmas poultry, there are no issues with supplies of other birds.

Of the approximately 11 million turkeys produced annually in the UK, 1.6 million have died from bird flu or had to be culled.

For more than a year, Britain has been affected by bird flu, with nearly 140 cases reported since the beginning of October.

Britain is also currently facing egg shortages and rationing that is expected to last beyond Christmas.

According to the British Free Range Egg Producers' Association, 750,000 laying hens have faced, bird flu-related culling since the beginning of October, compared to 1.8 million last year.

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